Throughout this week, British Judo will be celebrating “National Inclusion Week” and our work behind the scenes to help make our sport more inclusive!

This years theme is about being #UnitedForInclusion so we will be highlighting some of the excellent work taking place throughout the judo community and speaking to some of our members about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) in the sport.

Working in unity is a direct response to the challenges we all faced in 2020 – by coming together we can better understand the challenges we all face and devise practical solutions to address and overcome them. Working in unity will bring us closer to our goal of making inclusion an everyday reality.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group

The British Judo Association launched its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group in October 2020 and recruited six exceptional members of the British Judo community to help improve and shape inclusion within our sport.

Chaired by Board member Claire Lish and supported by the BJA’s Diversity and Inclusion manager, Sami Smithson, the steering group has focussed on; raising awareness, developing training opportunities for the judo community and developing an action plan to support British Judo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Our steering group members are: Paul Ajala, Deryn Allen, Stephanie Allen, Simone Callender, Jad Harris and  Dennis Stewart.

Several smaller support and focus groups have also been formed targeting areas such as LGBT+, women & girls recruitment and retention, adaptive judo and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These sub-groups are led by members of the steering group and welcome members of the wider judo community to be included in shaping the future as well as receiving support should they need it.

With respect to support groups:

We hope you are inspired this week to drive inclusion within your judo community. The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Steering group has set up several smaller working groups to help focus energies in specific areas and provide support to those people in our community who may need it. We are always looking for passionate individuals to help drive these groups therefore if you want to be involved please get in touch.

We are looking for volunteers to support the existing groups or new groups such as:

  • LGBTQ+
  • Ethnicity
  • Physical Disability
  • Visually Impaired

The working groups will work alongside the main Steering Group to help shape, develop and deliver the Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan, BJA policies as well as driving change and facilitating support to our diverse British judo community. Please send an email to express your interest in being involved to the Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Manager on

There are a number of webinars running throughout the week if you are interested in learning more about being inclusive. Click here to learn more

We are running a “Transgender Awareness Training” Coach Revalidation opportunity during the week as part of our work.

The session, which will be held virtually on Zoom, will be on Wednesday 29 September starting at 7:00pm and will last for approximately 90 minutes (free of charge).

It will be a wonderful opportunity to upskill in this area of inclusion and hopefully provoke thought on how we can be more inclusive within our judo community and potentially attract more members from the transgender community.

This event will be classed as a revalidation event for coaches but it is open to all members and their families.

There will be a maximum of 30 places available for the training so therefore please register your interest at the earliest opportunity by contacting Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing Manager Sami Smithson on